Ring is a home security system based out of Santa Monica, California, and is becoming popular with law enforcement agencies in Onslow County.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Richlands Police Department, and North Topsail Beach Police Department have partnered with Ring in March 2020 to help assist their efforts in solving cases.

On Wednesday, May 8, the Jacksonville Police Department arrested Phoenix Pena-Kamp, 28, of Eastview Court in Jacksonville, after they requested footage from a Ring doorbell security camera in the Brynn Marr area, according to a press release from the JPD

Pena-Kamp was charged by the JPD with three counts of first degree trespassing, secret peeping, possession of marijuana, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia, as reported by The Daily News.

Officers were able to use a video posted on the Ring Neighbors portal, a social networking system, that helped lead to the arrest of Pena-Kemp, according to the release.

Col. Chris Thomas with the OCSO said deputies have used Ring doorbell security footage for several cases for breaking and entering.

“During an investigation deputies will ride around a neighborhood looking for anything to assist them and will notice a security camera on a doorbell or elsewhere on the home. We politely ask the homeowner if the cameras work and if we can use them and most will allow us,” added Thomas.

Thomas said it is voluntary for the homeowner to give consent for law enforcement to use their security footage. The footage helps give law enforcement a view of what happened, as well as a picture of a suspect to help identify a person of interest.

Richlands Police Chief William Horne agreed with Thomas, saying it gives officers an extra layer of investigative tools should the need arise.

Though officers in Richlands have not had to reach out to citizens to request video for any cases, they have used the system a few times to send out information about events in the area that could possibly cause traffic delays for the citizens, such as races and parades.

The camera’s extra security doesn’t only apply to law enforcement, as residents in Onslow use them for their own peace of mind. However, some do not feel any safer with them.

Cody Kennedy of Jacksonville received the Ring doorbell camera as a gift and uses the device frequently for packages as well as the comings and goings around his house. Kennedy mentioned the camera also helped de-escalate an incident that could have ended worse than it did.

“I had a neighbor who was throwing a party and one of their friends, who had been drinking, went outside their house and tried to come inside mine,” said Kennedy, who added the man made several attempts to enter his home, and was confused as to which house he was at.

Kennedy explained he used the doorbell microphone to tell the man he was at the wrong house. Once he opened the door to show himself, the man apologized and returned to his friends house.

When asked if the security camera provided him with safety, Kennedy said it doesn’t feel like an extra layer of security.

“It didn’t stop the person from trying to get inside my house, it just makes it easier to find people after the fact,” said Kennedy. “It is something nice for the police to have only after someone has broken into your house.”

In Holly Ridge, Chief of Police Keith Whaley was able to use home security footage from a string of breaking and enterings in the town, and compared it with similar instances in Pender County.

“In Pender there was a case of breaking and entering that was caught on a Ring video that we compared to other home security footage from Holly Ridge. When comparing those videos we realized it was the same suspect, and that helped lead to their arrest,” said Whaley.

When discussing the differences between the Ring cameras and the officers own security footage, Whaley explained the Ring footage had more clarity and the video taken was at the level of the suspects face.

Whaley added that any camera system is a valuable tool for law enforcement when it comes to capturing footage of a suspect on video and said as the old saying goes, the camera does not lie.

Brittney Guadagno of Jacksonville said the doorbell cameras help provide her family with peace of mind while her husband is not home or their entire family is out of the house.

Angela Pitts and Barbara Reyes both raved about the added layer of security as well, while Devin Schweiss added his friend was able to use the system when they evacuated during Hurricane Florence to keep an eye on the house and the neighborhood.

North Topsail Beach Police Chief William Younginer said a lot of residents in NTB have Ring for their home security system and said it is useful for the property owners who don’t live there full time.

If there is one thing Younginer would like to stress to the residents of NTB, it's to call law enforcement when they suspect criminal activity, not their neighbors, to come and investigate the situation.

“We had an incident where a few kids walked inside a vacant house because the back door was unlocked, and Ring alerted us of a disturbance. But instead of calling us, the homeowner called their neighbor to check on their home,” said Younginer.

Turns out the kids were just curious but it could have been worse, as Younginer is hoping to educate the citizens of NTB to call police first.